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When the lights are brightest it matters most

The idea is to make defenses respect the run


Chris from Maple Ridge, Canada

Will we see the half-line drill on Saturday? Set the tone for camp, and put a smile on Vic's face.

Indubitably, on all counts.

Mike from McFarland, WI

Fans complain about all the injuries, but I think it is what we call in statistics "confirmation bias." I think they are right, the teams we play in the postseason probably do have fewer injuries than the Packers, but that is because all the other teams with major injuries at a position were knocked out of their seasons long ago. It is a testament to the coaching, game plan, and Rodgers' arm the Packers can make it within a few plays of the Super Bowl DESPITE all of the injuries that would have caused a similar team to end their season a month before.

I don't like admitting when I agree with Vic, but he's right about this one – as a team, you're not really hurt unless your quarterback is hurt.

Tom from Kenosha, WI

Other than the players, coaches, and immediate team personnel, who all travels on the team plane, and what size (seating) does the team normally travel in?

The additional departments that regularly travel include medical, equipment, video, public relations, and digital (that's us). Some members of top-level administration also travel (like Mark Murphy), along with members of the executive committee. Size of the plane depends on roster size (preseason vs. regular season) and length of trip (the longer the bigger).

Joe from Appleton, WI

Do statisticians account for partial yards when figuring out player stats for each game? For example, on one play if Ty Montgomery rushes for about 4.5 yards (and the TV calls it a gain of 4) and on another play later in the drive he again rushes for about 4.5 yards (again called a gain of 4), do they say Ty had two carries for eight yards or two carries for nine yards? As a math teacher, I've always wondered if they factored this in at all.

There are no half-yards as far as official stats go. The statisticians go by the points of the ball. Meaning, if a running play from the 20-yard line puts the ball between the 24 and 25, they look at the back point of the ball. If it's past the 24 and no longer touching it, the gain is 5 yards. If the next running play moves the ball fully to the 25, but some part of the ball is still touching the 25, it counts as zero. If the next play barely moves the ball, but it's between the 25 and 26 with the back point no longer touching the 25, it's good for one. Hope that makes sense. The exceptions are when the spot relates to first downs or touchdowns. In my last example, if it's third-and-1 and the first down is at the 26 and it's not converted, it would not count as a yard. It's not a perfect system, but that's how it works.

Frank from Pilot Point, TX

Hey guys! I really enjoyed the “Opening Credits” video. It was so cheesy that it was good. I was waiting for it to say, "Filmed before a live studio audience." Happy football.


Brought me back to my youth. A shout-out to our video intern, Nicole, for that one. She wasn't even alive when that TV style was the norm.** James from Alaska

As for the Geronimo suspension, that seems like an advantage for the Packers. They get one more week to evaluate and/or (hopefully not) stash a replacement for a potential injured player.

The idea of "stashing" players isn't reality. However it shakes out after Week 1, any receiver the Packers make available will be subject to waivers for 24 hours, and anyone subsequently re-signed to the practice squad is technically a free agent anyway. If they're wanted, they'll get picked up.

Tim from Woodbury, MN

What's the best signed piece of memorabilia in your collection?

I have an 8x10 of Walter Payton from training camp in my hometown that I got him to sign when I was a kid. It's the only piece of my Platteville/Bears roots that's up on the wall at home.

Lawrence from Onalaska, WI

Hey Mike or Wes, do you have a prediction on when the first $30 million/year contract is signed? It seems to me that it's going to happen sooner or later. After the next CBA is negotiated, perhaps? What say you?

It could happen before the next CBA. The top annual average for a QB right now is $25 million (Oakland's Derek Carr), with the cap at $167 million. That's 15 percent of the cap. Once the cap hits $200 million, 15 percent is $30 million. The cap has been going up around $10 million per year and there are three years left on the current CBA. It'll be close.

Joshua from Modesto, CA

When looking at Vogel's performance in camp, what should we look for? We know camp won't tell us anything about how he will perform at Lambeau in January, so I am assuming that we want consistent kicks at distance and hang time. What should the distance/hang time be? It's hard to root for a guy when I don't know what I'm rooting for him to do.

Don't get too hung up on the stats reporters are tweeting from camp. When the lights are brightest it matters most, and for now, that's the preseason games. Plus, the overall evaluation will include parts we don't know. Which punts in those stats was he swinging away, and which ones was he asked to kick directionally, or with more emphasis on hang time than distance? The numbers won't tell the whole story.

Tim from Upland, CA

Insiders, I know we fans all have our favorite players and I love Jordy and Randall, but I just watched the "Man hands" drill online and WOW, Davante Adams looked really impressive. A lot of pundits are cautioning that Adams can't repeat his production from last year. He already looks determined to hit 1,000 receiving yards.


Kudos on the creative "Seinfeld" reference. The slo-mo doesn't do justice to how difficult that drill is.** Dustin from Los Angeles, CA

After neglecting their fan base in the LA area for so long, the NFL needs to find another team for the Packers to play in London. You have the last time the Packers would play in the Coliseum and the next season would be the inaugural season of the new stadium. Missing these opportunities would be a huge slap in the face for Packers fans in LA.

The new stadium won't open until 2020, which is why I said the '18 game against the Rams or the '19 game against the Chargers would be the London options. With the Chargers playing in the small soccer stadium, maybe ticket sales at the Coliseum against the Rams would warrant keeping that game in LA in '18 and moving the '19 Chargers game overseas.

Steve from Swindon, UK

What would you think about a pep rally in London in 2018 or 2019 with all us UK Packers?


Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike, I've read that Jim Taylor holds the Packer record for rushing TDs with 81. Second on the list is Ahman Green with 54. Considering the direction of the game and the shelf life of RBs, do you think Taylor's record will ever be broken, or even approached?


Bart from Point Roberts, WA

I'm still concerned about our ILB situation. Do you think TT will bring in a veteran presence? Sure wish he would.

I'm comfortable with what the Packers have there, particularly with the addition of the packages that employ Burnett and Jones as inside linebackers for blitz/coverage purposes.

Scott from Downs, IL

Impeccable timing that the Brewers dropped out of first place on the first day of training camp.

Funny how that worked out, but even as rough as the last two weeks have been for the Crew, I'm not giving up. Big series this weekend vs. the Cubs, and I'm taking the family to the game Sunday. Couldn't think of a better way to spend a day off from camp.

Paul from Beijing, China

In the movie "Miracle" there is a scene where Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) asks the players, "Who do you play for?" They dutifully answer with their respective college teams. Herb/Kurt makes them do sprints until they are throwing up and finally answer "USA." I think of this scene every time players introduce themselves in prime-time games and state their college or high school, or elementary school, or pre-school, etc. Bear in mind the players on the 1980 Olympic hockey team did still play for their college teams, NFL players do not. I really don't care where a player went to elementary school. I would love to hear the entire team say "Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers, Ty Montgomery – Green Bay Packers," etc., to emphasize they are a team. Am I the only person who cares at all about this?

Maybe, but your note brought to mind a video shown at the shareholders meeting of ESPN anchor John Anderson, a Green Bay native, talking about Packers fans. He explained that if you ask people in Boston whom Tom Brady plays for, they'll say, "Tommy plays for the Patriots," and in New York, about Eli Manning, they'll say, "Eli plays for the Giants." But ask people in Green Bay whom Aaron Rodgers plays for, and they'll answer, "He plays for us."

Stephen from Plano, TX

How will the Packers' running game be this year?

I don't know, but the idea is to make defenses respect it. Which means when the defense, by personnel or formation, is playing pass against an offensive run look, such as two tight ends, the Packers have to be able to run it successfully. Have to.

Keith from Yorktown, VA

The most nonsensical statement? "It depends on the spot" when talking about whether or not a team has made a first down. Well, of course it depends on the spot!

"Watch how he goes up and catches the ball at its highest point." Hear it all the time, and I just shake my head.

Todd from Knoxville, TN

So, CTE. Is football worth it?

That's for each individual player to decide for himself. The medical studies have shown us all the bad cases from past generations of players. What I think we need, but have to wait for, are the medical studies on the current generation from the era of heightened awareness – those who are subject to the concussion protocols and theoretically aren't returning to games or practice with head injuries, and taking the requisite time to heal. The research is just beginning, really.

Jeremy from Edinburgh, UK

Mike, if human confrontation is the hidden soul of football, what would be the equivalent for baseball?

I think it's the mental grind. The 162 games, the line drives that find gloves, the close calls on the corners. The game is as brutal as it is beautiful.

Matthew from Eugene, OR

Good morning, Insiders. Do you remember Mike McCarthy's first first-day-of-camp press conference? How has his demeanor changed since then? His focus?

I was there. Though I don't remember it specifically, the one thing about McCarthy that's never changed in 12 seasons, to me, is his belief in his team.

Jerry from Hewitt, WI

What was the highlight of Day 1 of training camp?


Here are **three of them**. For the first one after an 11-month layoff, I thought we did OK. If you need a two-minute daily camp fix, this should do the trick.** Andy from Clive, IA

Just finished watching the "Three Things" video. Did Larry get a free bowl of soup with that hat?

It looks good on him.

Sam from Madison, WI

Insiders, with the Yogi quotes going around I was wondering who is the most quotable person you've covered and what was the best quote you got from them?

I don't normally select a question Wes has already answered, but recently a high school football coach I covered almost 20 years ago passed away, and I wanted to acknowledge a quote he gave me once about his team, which at the time had finished barely above .500 in the regular season but made a playoff run to the state final. "Sometimes, it's not how good you are, it's when you're good." I've never forgotten that. RIP, Big John.

Doug from Green Bay, WI

Seems like for the last six years we have heard different versions of the phrases "last year's defense was about to make a big jump until..." and, "Look for second- and third-year players make a jump." Why should I believe this year should be different than prior years?

If the health situation improves over last year, I believe it will be different.

Bob from Wausau, WI

Hey Mike, are you going to charge $37.50 for a pizza bagel and bite-size Three Musketeers on the "Ketchman Reality Tour"? If so, I'm all-in. I'll even get rid of the muffin stumps for you.

I was thinking a hot dog and giant pretzel, free if you wear khakis.

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